Bernard Ovoke was arguably, the pin up boy of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) club, Rivers United last season.
Quick, skilful, blessed with an eye for goal and in possession of a low centre of gravity, the ‘magic seven’ left fear and pain in his wake at many an NPFL side’s defence last term. He finished as the club’s top scorer last season and has taken two league games to get off the mark this term.
His well-taken goal on Wednesday earned Rivers United a priceless point at the ‘Nest of Champions’ against a very well-drilled Akwa United side.
Ovoke believes his strike against the Promise Keepers is potentially the first of many to come and has now set a 20-goal-target for himself for the 2016/17 season.
“The game against Akwa United was not a bad game. I enjoyed myself and it was important to score.
“I set a target of scoring 20 goals even before we played our first game against El Kanemi Warriors.
“I cannot do it on my own as I will need the support of my teammates and our coaches to achieve it but I will work even harder than I did last season to achieve this,” the winger told the club’s official website, www.riversunitedfc.com.ng.
United will campaign on three front this season in what is the biggest season in the club’s history.
The Pride of Rivers will compete in the CAF Champions League and Federation Cup alongside their exertions in the NPFL.
Ovoke has set his sights high in all three competitions and says the focus remains doing well in all of them.
“The most important thing for us is to stay focussed and continue working hard.
“I am convinced we have a good team and if there are no injuries, I am very certain we will achieve great things this season.
“We have been receiving great support from the sponsor (the Rivers State Government) and hopefully, we have something to give back to the fans at the end of the season.
Next up for United is a home fixture in the NPFL against Niger Tornadoes on Sunday and Ovoke says there should be no talk of taking their foot off the gas.
“We have done well so far because everybody at Rivers United has shown seriousness even before the season began.
“We have to continue that way against Tornadoes on Sunday.
“They are in the relegation zone but at this stage of the season, you cannot really rate any team because it is still too early.
“The season will be long and demanding and we want the fans to stand by us from now till the end,” he said.
Rivers United is currently in fourth place on the NPFL standings with four points from their first two matches.